Broadcast Law Blog

Broadcast Law Blog

Tag Archives: advertising

MARCH MADNESS: An Unusual Case of Reverse Confusion

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
As we wrote about last year around this time, MARCH MADNESS is a term that is protected by trademark law.  It is owned by the March Madness Athletic Association (MMAA), a joint venture between the NCAA and the Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA).   The IHSA was actually first to begin using this mark to describe its high school basketball … Continue Reading

FCC Confirms $4000 Fine For Televising Video News Release Without Sponsorship ID

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification
  The FCC has issued a Forfeiture Order, confirming a $4000 fine levied against a Minneapolis TV station for airing a video news release ("VNR") without sponsorship identification.  This case was previously discussed in our March 25th blog entry, when the Commission issued a Notice of Apparent Liability ("NAL") against the station for this violation.  The primary lesson to … Continue Reading

EEO Review, Public File Issues, Contest Rules, and License Renewal DIscussed in Seminars at Joint Convention of Oregon and Washington State Broadcast Associations

Posted in Appearances, EEO Compliance/Diversity, FCC Fines, General FCC, License Renewal
The nuts and bolts of legal issues for broadcasters were highlighted in two sessions in which I participated at last week’s joint convention of the Oregon and Washington State Broadcasters Associations, held in Stephenson, Washington, on the Columbia River that divides the two states.  Initially, I conducted a seminar for broadcasters providing a refresher on their EEO … Continue Reading

What is the Impact on Broadcasters of Supreme Court Decision that Corporations Can Buy Political Ads? More Money, More Ad Challenges and the Return of the Zapple Doctrine

Posted in Fairness Doctrine, Political Broadcasting
The Supreme Court Decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, freeing corporations to use their corporate funds to take explicit positions on political campaigns, has been mostly analyzed by broadcast trade publications as a good thing – creating one more class of potential buyers for broadcaster’s advertising time during the political season – which seems … Continue Reading

A Full Five Person FCC – What’s Next For Broadcasters?

Posted in Advertising Issues, General FCC, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
For the first time since the term of FCC Commissioner Tate expired and Chairman Martin resigned, the FCC will be back to full strength with the Senate’s approval of new FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker.  What issues of importance to broadcasters will the Commission, now headed by Chairman Julius Genachowski, take up in coming months?   The … Continue Reading

Health Policy Ads on Broadcast Stations – Remember Your Public File Obligations

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
A story in today’s Wall Street Journal discusses the significant amount of money being spent on television advertising for and against pending proposals for health care reform.  As we have written before, broadcasters are required to keep in their public file information about advertising dealing with Federal issues - records as detailed as those kept for political candidates.  … Continue Reading

Advertising Industry Publishes Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Data Collection

Posted in Advertising Issues, On Line Media
The Advertising industry recently published self-regulation guidelines for "behavioral advertising," i.e. advertising that is targeted to the user based upon data regarding that user’s activities across various Web sites.  The Federal Trade Commission has been urging the industry to develop such standards for some time.  These practices have also attracted considerable attention on Capitol Hill.  To summarize the … Continue Reading

Selling Stories In a Broadcast Station’s News Programs – Remember the Sponsorship Identification

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification
A recent stir was created when a Midwestern television company was reported to have signed a contract with a state government agency, promising to market the agency and its programs throughout the state.  This promotion was to include a segment in the company’s televised news promoting the effects of the work of the agency.  Questions were immediately … Continue Reading

Reminder: Equal Time and Lowest Unit Rate Rules Apply to State and Municipal Elections

Posted in Political Broadcasting
While it seems like we just finished the election season, it seems like there is always an election somewhere.  We are still getting calls about municipal and other state and local elections that are underway.  And broadcasters need to remember that these elections, like the Federal elections that we’ve just been through, are subject to the … Continue Reading

FCC Fines for Noncommercial Stations Having Underwriting Announcements That Were Too Commercial – Even Where the Station Received No Money

Posted in Noncommercial Broadcasting
Last week, the FCC issued several fines to noncommercial broadcasters who had underwriting announcements that sounded too commercial.  In these decisions, the Commission found that the stations had broadcast promotional announcements for commercial businesses – and those announcements did not conform to the FCC’s rules requiring that announcements acknowledging contributions to noncommercial stations cannot contain qualitative claims … Continue Reading

Don’t Use “Super Bowl” in an Ad Without Permission – But How About in Other Programming?

Posted in Advertising Issues, Intellectual Property
The term "Super Bowl" is a trademark owned by the National Football League, and it is protected very aggressively. What does that mean?  The biggest no-no of all is to use the term "Super Bowl" in any advertising or promotional announcements that are not sanctioned by the NFL.  This prohibition includes sweepstakes and contests as well.  Advertisers … Continue Reading

Gazing Into the Crystal Ball – The Outlook for Broadcast Regulation in 2009

Posted in Advertising Issues, AM Radio, Broadcast Performance Royalty, Cable Carriage, Digital Radio, Digital Television, EEO Compliance/Diversity, Fairness Doctrine, General FCC, Indecency, Internet Radio, Low Power Television/Class A TV, Multiple Ownership Rules, Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting, Programming Regulations, Public Interest Obligations/Localism
Come the New Year, we all engage in speculation about what’s ahead in our chosen fields, so it’s time for us to look into our crystal ball to try to discern what Washington may have in store for broadcasters in 2009. With each new year, a new set of regulatory issues face the broadcaster from the … Continue Reading

FCC Rules Require Non-Discrimination Clauses in All Advertising Sales Contracts – Act Now to Avoid Trouble Later

Posted in Advertising Issues, EEO Compliance/Diversity, License Renewal
In the FCC’s recent Report and Order on Diversity, released earlier this year, the Commission announced new requirements for all broadcast station’s advertising sales contracts. The new FCC rule requires that all advertising contracts contain clauses ensuring that there is no discrimination based on race or gender in the sale of advertising time. This new requirement, which … Continue Reading

Obama Buys A Half Hour of Time on Broadcast Networks – What FCC Legal Issues are Involved?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
Press Reports (such as this one) have stated that the Obama campaign has purchased half-hour blocks of time on at least NBC and CBS to broadcast a political infomercial to be aired at 8 PM Eastern time on October 29.  Some reports indicate that other broadcast and cable networks will also be broadcasting the same program.  … Continue Reading

FCC Investigating TV Commentators Who Were Allegedly Paid to Present Views on Military Issues

Posted in Payola and Sponsorship Identification, Political Broadcasting
According to numerous press articles, including this one in Multichannel News, the FCC has begun an investigation into several commentators on TV news programs to see if they were receiving payments or other consideration for presenting a particular viewpoint on military issues on which they were interviewed.  According to press reports, the FCC has sent … Continue Reading

What Happens if a Federal Candidate’s Commercial Does Not Have Proper Sponsorship Disclosure?

Posted in Political Broadcasting
Failing to meet the obligations set out under the law for required sponsorship identification on Federal political ads could, theoretically, cost candidates significant amounts of money – if stations decide to hold the candidates to the letter of the law. Under the terms of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (“BCRA”), Federal candidates airing television commercials that refer … Continue Reading

Political Advertising Rules for Station Websites – Opportunites and Pitfalls

Posted in On Line Media, Political Broadcasting
Each election season brings new issues for broadcasters. In recent years, broadcasters are more and more frequently dealing with requests for political uses of the a station’s website. For the most part, unlike a broadcast station that is subject to the full panoply of the FCC’s political rules, those rules largely don’t apply to station … Continue Reading

Lowest Unit Rates for Political Candidates Begin on September 5; Get Answers to Political Broadcasting Questions from Our Political Broadcasting Guide

Posted in Political Broadcasting
Political Broadcasting season is now in full swing, with the Democrats just ending their convention, and the Republicans beginning theirs next week.  Already, we’ve seen disputes about third party attack ads (see our post here), and there are bound to be many more issues about the FCC’s political broadcasting rules that arise during what looks to … Continue Reading

Comment Dates Set for Embedded Advertising and Sponsorship Identification Proceeding – While Coffee Cups on the Anchor Desk Put the Issue in the Headlines

Posted in Advertising Issues, Payola and Sponsorship Identification
The FCC’s Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Sponsorship Identification issues (which we summarized in our firm’s advisory and about which we wrote here), which deals with a host of issues including embedded advertising and product placement, was published in the Federal Register late last week, starting the clock on the filing … Continue Reading

The Regulation of TV Programming for Children – Embedded and Interactive Advertising, Violence, and Ratings

Posted in Advertising Issues, Children's Programming and Advertising, On Line Media, Programming Regulations
In several recent speeches and press releases, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has challenged the FCC to do more in the regulation of children’s programming.  In a recent Press Release, the Commissioner outlined proposals including the following: Improve the V-Chip and other program blocking technologies Improve ratings information for television programming – including potentially having third … Continue Reading

Prescription Drug Advertising Restrictions – Back on the Table?

Posted in Advertising Issues
Last year, Congress considered limits on direct to consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising (about which we wrote here), but this effort stalled.  A recent letter from two Congressional leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee suggest that Congress is looking at these issues once again.  This advertising has become important to television networks, and to drug manufacturers … Continue Reading

No State Lottery in Your State? – No Gambling Ads Even For a State Lottery In a Nearby State

Posted in Advertising Issues, FCC Fines
In a decision released last week, the FCC imposed a fine of $4000 on a broadcaster licensed to a community in the state of Arkansas for airing an advertisement for the Missouri State Lottery.  In this case, a station licensed to Arkansas ran a remote broadcast from a store in Missouri.  During the course of the remote, the on-air announcer invited … Continue Reading